Former telecom minister Sukh Ram today blamed the UPA government for the
tepid response to the 2G auction, saying many technically proven and sound
bidders did not participate due to "lack of consistency in government policy".
The former Union minister from Himachal Pradesh said he will meet Union Telecom
minister Kapil Sibal and ask him to revert to the policy of competitive bidding
framed in 1994.
"The fresh auctions were not successful as it witnessed many technically proven
and sound bidders not participating due to lack of consistency in government
policy and foreign companies also stayed away from auction in the absence of
unambiguous guidelines," the Congress leader said told reporters here.
"I would meet Kapil Sibal and urge him to revert to the policy of competitive
bidding framed in 1994 along with sound criteria for auction of spectrum to
instill confidence among foreign investors," he said.
He also attacked NDA government for changing the telecom policy of competitive
bidding during the tenure of the then minister Pramod Mahajan and urged the UPA
government to adopt the telecom policy drafted in 1994 when he held the
portfolio of communication.
"In fact, the change in policy by Mahajan led to 2G mess," he said.
"The 1994 policy has helped in earning annual revenue of over Rs 68,000 core
without imposing any tax on the people and even a small state like Himachal was
contributing Rs 1,000 annually by way of service tax and spectrum charges," he
Himachal with a meagre population of 68.56 lakh has over 70 lakh mobile phones
and 2.95 lakh fixed lines and telecom sector had generated vast employment
He said that policy of "first come first serve" adopted by NDA government
instead of "highest tender" was "flawed", with no logical criteria and as a
result technically sound bidders had to opt out and multinational companies
managed to get the spectrum.
The policy of "first come first serve" was further amended to auction with base
price fixed by the government which fell out during implementation and creating
legal wrangles which ended up with the Supreme Court cancelling the auction of
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.